Mark's Feed
Jun 23, 2014

Obama seeks to expand flex-time for government workers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, as part of efforts to make the U.S. workplace more accommodating for employees with families, will on Monday direct federal agencies to step up efforts give workers more leeway in determining their schedules.

The president will issue a memorandum requiring federal agency heads to expand flexible workplace policies as much as possible, the White House said in a statement. The goal is to make it easier for parents or workers to take care of family needs and to enable more people to find and keep jobs.

Jun 21, 2014

Sectarian tensions set stage for Iraq conflict, Obama says -reports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq’s conflict is the result of sectarian divisions that have been allowed to fester, and it is up to Iraq’s people and leaders to resolve those differences, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.

In excerpts of longer interviews on several television networks, the president sought to place responsibility for holding off the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has seized areas in the north of the country, and emphasized that U.S. support would be limited and conditional.

Jun 21, 2014

White House announces steps to address immigrant surge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Friday stepped up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country, expanding the government’s ability to process and deport people and announcing new funding to boost security in crime-plagued Central American countries.

The Obama administration said it would boost the ranks of immigration judges, lawyers and asylum officers to quickly decide what happens to people apprehended at the border and to return them to their home countries.

Jun 21, 2014

U.S., France, Germany say Russia faces costs over Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of the United States, France and Germany agreed on Friday that Russia faces the risk of new sanctions from the West if it fails to defuse tensions on the Ukraine border, the White House said.

As Ukraine’s new president sought to end an insurgency in the country’s east, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke separately with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the White House said.

Jun 20, 2014

White House announces funding to address immigrant surge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Friday announced tens of millions of dollars of new funding and expanded enforcement facilities to step up efforts to deal with the surge of children arriving illegally from Central America.

The United States said it would launch a $40 million program to improve security in Guatemala to reduce pressures forcing flight to the United States and a $25 million program to provide services to youth in El Salvador who are vulnerable to organized crime pressure, the White House said in a statement.

Jun 20, 2014

Obama, via Uruguay, urges Cuba to release jailed U.S. citizen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has sent an indirect message to Cuban President Raúl Castro through Uruguay’s leader, asking Cuba to release a jailed U.S. aid contractor and encouraging political reforms, U.S. officials said on Friday.

It was a rare presidential-level communication between the United States and Cuba, which lack diplomatic relations and have been hostile neighbors for more than 50 years.

Jun 20, 2014

Obama administration extends rights of gay couples

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuters) – Several U.S. agencies
announced rules on Friday that would grant new rights to
same-sex couples throughout the United States, including
survivor benefits and leave from work to care for a sick
partner.

The rules are being issued one year after the Supreme Court
issued its landmark decision striking down a ban on national
recognition of same-sex marriage.

Jun 20, 2014

Obama extends family leave rights of gay couples

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday will announce a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all 50 states, a White House official said.

Currently, legally married couples are eligible for those benefits if they reside in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal. Obama is directing the Department of Labor to propose a rule extending the FMLA rights even to states where gay unions are not legal.

Jun 20, 2014

Obama, Pena Nieto discuss U.S. influx of Central American minors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama spoke on Thursday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto about a strategy to deal with a flood of children coming from Central America to the United States, the White House said.

Obama “welcomed the opportunity to work in close cooperation with Mexico to develop concrete proposals to address the root causes of unlawful migration from Central America,” the White House said.

Jun 11, 2014

Factbox: Tea Party activist Brat is economist and Ayn Rand fan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – David Brat, who scored a huge political upset with his primary election defeat of House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is a conservative Tea Party Republican and a college professor who has written about the role of religion in economic growth.

He is also a fan of the pro-capitalist novelist Ayn Rand. Here are some facts about Brat:

    • About Mark

      "Mark Felsenthal is a Reuters White House correspondent who covered Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 and the fiscal crisis that immediately followed. Since joining Reuters in 2001, he has written about monetary policy, currency wars, and the housing market meltdown."
    • Follow Mark